Taker of Iconic Photo Launches Oulu Africa Exhibition
South African photo journalist Jodi Bieber was in Oulu on Friday evening to launch her new exhibition at Oulu Art Museum.
Bieber, one of the winners of last year’s Press Photography Competition, is best known for her iconic photograph of a young Afghan woman, known as Aisha, whose nose and ears had been cut off by her tribe for transgressing their rules. The photo appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.
Bieber’s Oulu exhibition is part of the broader Africa in Oulu exhibition which is running at Oulu Art Museum until 8th January 2012 and was opened last week. Bieber’s own contribution is a series of photographs of semi-naked South African women who approached her and asked for her to take their photos. Entitled ‘Real Beauty,’ the exhibition documents South African women of various sizes and shapes.
A partly invited audience of around 200 came to the opening night of the exhibition to see Bieber speak and meet her. She told them that people have many stereotypes about Africa based around AIDS and war and stereotypes are a particular problem for women because so much photography of woman is of photoshopped models. She wanted to show the world what real South African women are like.
Impressed by her day in Oulu, she told 65DN that, ‘I’ve already seen three people I’d like to photograph! . . . So I think this means people here and individuals . . . they don’t just go with the crowd!’
‘With these photos, I wanted to get a cross-section of South African society,’ she added.
Juha Vahakangas, a Lutheran priest, was amongst the invited guests. He told 65DN that, ‘I really do think this shows real beauty. It has quite an extraordinary effect on the emotions.’
The opening, at which free sparkling wine was distributed, attracted many local notables including the Rev’d Satu Saarinen, who wrote well-known thesis on female clergy and has two adopted South African children; Paavo J. Heinonen, who edits the arts magazine Kaltio and organizes Oulu Arts Night; Outi Ervasti, a Kokoomus politician and Yu-Hsuan Lee, a Tiawanese student who is bringing the World Press Photography Exhibition to Oulu.
Jodi Bieber was born in 1967 and is from Johannesburg. The photographs from Real Beauty can be seen here – http://www.jodibieber.com/index.php?pageID=17&navLay=3